"I know Councilwoman Bevins feels very strongly that the area they have to do this in already has a substantial amount of low-income housing, and this would concentrate it too much," said Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat.

The site is already zoned to allow for the project, but officials with Homes for America say the development is not viable without public financing. The nonprofit has applied for more than $1 million in low-income housing tax credits through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

"Without those public resources, it wouldn't be possible to develop affordable housing," Rase said.

The resolution before the council argues that the area is unsuitable for such a project because it lacks a grocery store and public transportation and because of overcrowding at McCormick Elementary School.

More than 410 students are enrolled at the school, which has a capacity of 380, but some of the students attend half-day programs, so the school system doesn't consider it to be over-capacity.

Bevins said residents are concerned that the homes would be rented to people using Section 8 vouchers, and that their presence would lead to more crime.

"Burglaries, shootings, stabbings, drugs, vandalism, and other crimes go hand-in-hand with 'Section 8' occupants," the Hazelwood-Park East Civic Association wrote in a letter opposing the project. "It does not matter if 'Section 8' occupancy is 5% or 100%, we will be inundated with crime."

The group represents the neighborhood where the project would be built. The Holland Hill Improvement Association, which represents a neighborhood to the west of the site, also opposes the project.

Rase said it's unfair to blame Section 8 residents for crime, saying much of the responsibility lies with landlords. Homes for America has two senior housing communities in the county, both of which are in Reisterstown.

"We have good, safe, well-run communities that don't have crime, whether they have Section 8 or not," she said. "Where you have real problems is where you have absentee owners who don't reside in the area, and it's just an income stream for them, not a mission."

Last month, the Shelter Group, a Baltimore-based developer, withdrew an application to the County Council to start the development process for a 120-unit affordable housing project in White Marsh.

Councilman David Marks, whose district includes that site, said the project faced intense community opposition. He said he had not yet taken a position on the project because a community input meeting hadn't been held, but believes much of his district has ample affordable housing.

"The part of Baltimore County I represent has been oversaturated with tens of thousands of townhouses and apartments, and many of them are rental units," he said.

A Shelter Group representative did not return calls seeking comment.

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